Monday, February 15, 2010

Barnewall: “La Mauvaise Vie?” Is the Story Over?

Canada Free Press, October 26, 2009

There are no national initiatives to bring back U.S. industry or to retain existing businesses

By Marilyn Barnewall Monday, October 26, 2009

One of my favorite newsletters comes from a Canadian writer, Jim Willie. His projections about the North American economy have been right far more often than they have been wrong. He is seldom wrong, in fact. He says America’s story as the leader of the world is over. In his recent newsletter titled “The Golden Jackass“, Willie had this to say:

“It is my contention that the US financial structures broke without any remote potential for repair and revival in the summer of 2007… The system has broken, but the syndicate in control wishes to keep the music going, keep the machinery turning, keep the money flowing, so that they can continue the racket, bury the bond frauds, process the bad paper into USGovt coffers, continue to corner the printing press operations, and continue to con the USCongress into granting more funds. Nobody seeks justice and prosecution for over $1 trillion in mortgage bond fraud. Nobody seeks to remove key Wall Street firms from their command posts within USGovt finance ministries.”

His article continues, pointing out that there are no national initiatives to bring back U.S. industry or to retain existing businesses through reduced taxation and regulatory burdens – which would stimulate start-up businesses.

I agree with Willie that our nation’s financial structures broke in 2007. He may be right that it can’t be fixed. But I believe the big guys have given us a synthetic, imaginary Constitution and Bill of Rights. They synthesized and derivatized our freedoms, our financial markets, and our Rule of Law. They leveraged them many times over and sold them to all takers like ripe Wall Street apples. What those who abused their power created is not reality, though. The phony Wall Street and the too big to jail banks that cannot be brought back to life are what have no potential for repair. They are dying – and they need to get on with it so the real America can be resurrected.

It will be difficult to stimulate industry. There are ways – meaningful ways – to do it. It will take private capital, however, not government money that only piles more debt on the backs of American citizens (some of which have yet to be born).

We need to make clear the forward direction the nation intends to go. One way to do that is to implement a high-speed rail system (HSR). It shouts to the world that we are not only recovering, we are moving forward. It says we welcome the future because we are the future.

HSR can, properly implemented, stimulate several industries. Steel for rails is needed. A new electrical grid is needed. Stations and depots must be built. Since American industry knows nothing about building high-speed rail cars, one of the world’s HSR rail car experts needs to be enticed into opening a plant here, to hire and train American workers.

Following is a list of things that need immediate attention if high-speed rail is to become a reality. It was created by a private company that has been offering since 1995 to build America’s high-speed rail system with zero tax dollars. I know it’s unfamiliar territory for bureaucrats, but “private capital” translates to “zero tax dollars” – which is about what the government currently has in its coffers.

1. Right of Way and Roadbed planning and construction;
2. Roadbed equipment and engineering; with vehicular traffic tunnels;
3. Hi-Speed Train engines and passenger railcars,
4. Civil engineering studies and FDA/USArmy approvals/modifications;
5. Real Estate and Land procurement;
6. Electrical Power Stations;

a. Westinghouse
b. General Electric
c. Other alternatives

7. Hotel, Depot and Maintenance Facilities: design and construction;
8. Rail Track Assembly Plants (20 buildings, minimum);
9. Electrical Power Stations/Plants (Non-nuclear/Nuclear);
10. Human resources;
11. Vehicle procurement;
12. Metal Tower fabrication and wiring;
13. Overall safety and security programs;
14. Underground electrical, water, gas piping between corridors;
15. Parallel two way emergency and evacuation vehicle roadways;
16. Food Management Services;
17. Emergency Health and Safety Services

The above list provides insight into the minimum one million (that’s 1,000,000) jobs that a privately managed HSR system can create through 2014. Add to that at least 50,000 permanent employees needed to run the system.

Why is government determined to maintain control of HSR development? Anyone who doesn’t understand the government is broke isn’t paying attention. They do not have an extra trillion dollars sitting around to implement a project of this size. Yet they hold out to governors of the States that they are working diligently to move HSR forward. They call meetings and more meetings… and apparently never come to any conclusions.

America’s economic and financial alternatives are extremely limited right now. The objective of government must be survival. Are they smart enough to see that more fraud, more special deals, and certainly more tax dollars aren’t in the cards? Jim Willie is right. If the dolts in DC don’t pull their heads out of – the sand – and realize it’s all tumbling down around their ears while they fiddle, America will, indeed, tumble down a rabbit hole into third world status.

For all of the above reasons, I was interested to read the Federal Rail Administration’s (FRA) “Preliminary National Rail Plan” when I received notice of it last week.

According to a January 17, 2009 article, AlterNet says our Secretary of Transportation is “a conservative Republican with little transportation expertise and almost no experience”

The Plan recently released by the Department of Transportation sure makes me want to go back and re-read that article. Talk about being disappointed. This is not a plan. It could find better placement in a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Hansel and Gretl leaving crumbs to lead the way out of the National Rail Plan forest. No decisions about anything have been made and nothing firm has been put in place.

A “Plan?” It could be termed a “Compendium of Hopes and Dreams,” or maybe “HSR Through the Looking Glass.” But a business plan or an executive overview it is not. If government can’t write a plan, how can it implement one? I’ve read and written a lot of business plans in my career and they just aren’t that hard to do – if you know what you’re doing.

Never in the history of the United States has critical thinking been more important to the recovery of our economic well being. The economy sits on the brink of disaster, the housing market can’t find a bottom, and unemployment keeps going up as the tax base goes down. And what do we get from government bureaucrats? A “Plan” announcing the FRA hasn’t got a clue about what needs to be done to implement HSR or how to do it.

The Obama Administration announced HSR as a priority in the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure. As someone keenly interested in the economy, I wanted to read the FRA’s Plan. Page three says the Plan will give me “Groundwork for Developing Policies to Improve the United States Transportation System.” It later says: “Although this Preliminary Plan does not generally offer specific recommendations, it identifies a number of issues this agency believes should be considered in formulating the National Rail Plan.” Bureaucratic doublespeak! It identifies issues?

HSR has been around since the 1960s. If it has the priority the Obama Administration says it does, the FRA would have long ago identified “a number of issues this agency believes should be considered…”

The non-Plan put forth by the FRA clearly shouts the reasons the private sector and not government should control this important project. For example, LaHood’s “Plan” identifies safety as the number one issue. Safety’s good – once you have a rail line planned and ready to build so you have something about which to be “safe.”
Reading through the entire report, I find there is no definition of “High-Speed Rail.” Nor is there any definition of “Rapid Transit Rail” (RTR) or “Traditional Rail” (TR). They are all quite different. Yet, the various announcements made to governors around the country use the words “high-speed rail” when the words “rapid transit rail” should be used. In short, they do not know what they’re doing!

The average speed of HSR trains is between 150 and 250 mph. It takes a rather long distance for the high-speed train to achieve top speed, so you don’t want it to stop every 50 miles. RTR averages between 100 and 150 mph and traditional rail averages from zero to 100 mph. HSR moves people across the country very quickly. RTR takes people from a central HSR depot to a variety of locations. Generally, RTR is built and managed by locally-owned independent contractors (some of whom may currently own rail lines and provide only freight service). RTR picks up the people moving job where HSR leaves off.

America’s railroads saw their finest hours and provided the best quality passenger service almost a hundred years ago. Why? Because that was the way the rail system was structured. A major rail line was built across the country – private capital was used, not tax dollars – and a bunch of small railroad companies built rail lines to take people to specific destinations.

I agree that the synthetic, imaginary, phony economy and political system under which America has been living for many years can’t be fixed. The real thing can. The problem is, Washington’s bureaucrats have been living with their imaginary creation for so long they no longer recognize the real thing. The people, however, do.

Luke 14:28: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?”

No comments:

Post a Comment